10 Things to eat in Tunis and where

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Tunisian cuisine is an amalgamation of Berber tradition with influences from the peoples who dominated it: Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Turks and French. Bread is always present, both in the form of a baguette and as a tabouna, a sort of unleavened loaf baked in a domed clay oven.

The national dish is couscous, very fine steamed semolina grains served in several variations: with meat (lamb, chicken, koftes), fish and vegetables. Being a seaside resort, fish is certainly not lacking on the table, generally grilled or baked.
A clear legacy of French colonialism can be felt in tartare, entrecote and bouef bourguignon.

Tunisians really like spicy, omnipresent is harissa, una red chilli sauce with which they season everything.
At the beginning of the meal, mechoia is generally served, typical Tunisian salad and as a snack to break hunger, the brig.
I Sweets are a riot of honey, dried fruit and dates. We see the 10 things to eat in Tunis and where!


  1. Cous Cous
  2. Mechouia
  3. Brig
  4. Chachcouka
  5. lablabi
  6. Ojja
  7. Berzguen
  8. Kabkabou
  9. Tajine malsouka
  10. Baklava
  11. Where to eat: best restaurants, typical bars and street food
  12. User questions and comments

1 - Cous Cous

Typical of the Maghreb, but also of Sicily, couscous is the main ingredient of many versatile and complete dishes.
Is formed from grains of durum wheat semolina, processed with water and then steamed in a special pot called couscoussiera.

Very rich in carbohydrates and starches, it basically has the same nutritional values ​​as pasta but is more satiating, because it absorbs a lot of water. For this it is perfect for both vegetarian and meat dishes but also fish dishes.

The most common accompaniment of the dish are vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions and peppers), vegetable (especially chickpeas) and one spice mixture really explosive: in addition to cinnamon, saffron and various seeds (cumin and fennel), there are chillies, paprika and harissa (a very hot sauce based on crushed chilli and oil).

For more elaborate recipes they are added to this base meat (chicken, lamb, snails, meatballs called koftes) or fish.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 13,00
  • Main ingredients: wheat semolina, meat, fish and vegetables

2 - Mechouia

It is the Tunisian salad par excellence. A very popular dish, dedicated to those who appreciate spicy, it is particularly consumed in summer.

The basic ingredients are tomatoes, green peppers, onion and garlic, combined with spices, especially cumin and coriander, with the addition of olive oil and salt.

Usually you eat cold, as an appetizer, accompanied with a little bread, decorated with tuna, hard-boiled eggs and olives.
On the menus you can find the list of appetizers; in fact, a very small portion is served, which has nothing to do with our salads. However, it can also often be found as a filling for sandwiches sold in street-food mode by street vendors.

  • Recommended to: entrèe for both lunch and dinner
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: tomato, green peppers, onion, garlic, spices, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olives

3 - Brik

Impossible not to taste the brik at least once during a stay in Tunis. It is the street-food par excellence and it is found practically everywhere.

It is a very thin fried dough roll, similar to our phyllo dough, which comes filled with various fillings: generally tuna, olives and harissa, but also minced meat with spices, or eggs and vegetables.

It is a dish of Maghreb gastronomy, which was initially widespread above all among nomadic peoples. The name derives from the pasta, brik or brick, which women still prepare by hand.
Born as street food, given its great success, in restaurants it is served between appetizers.

  • Recommended to: snack or appetizer
  • Average cost: € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: fried dough, tuna, olives, minced meat, egg, harissa

4 - Chachcouka

It is a very substantial single dish based on vegetables, usually peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, cooked with tomato sauce, parsley, eggs and spices (50 types of spices to which anise and rose petals must be added!).

Of Algerian origin, it is a dish that is served during the holidays.
The term chachcouka translates with the expression "torn piadina".

The reason is obvious why the dish is served with lots of bread: pieces of focaccia called khobz or melaouia, dry and thin bread reminiscent of carasau.
This dish was born as poor and very variable, it was prepared each time in a different way depending on what was available at home.

  • Recommended to: snack or appetizer
  • Average cost: € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: vegetables, eggs, tomato, spices

5 - Lablabi

It is a very thick chickpea soup, cooked over low heat and seasoned with lemon juice, the inevitable harissa, cumin and olive oil.
If desired, you can also add capers, olives and a little tuna, then, at the end of cooking, a fresh egg.

This is the real Tunisian street-food!
It is not served in restaurants because it is a popular dish, much appreciated especially by the workers who gravitate around the markets, by the commuters who crowd the stations and by the students leaving the high schools.

The tasty thing is that this soup is served to you from a steaming pot, which you have to approach with your clay bowl already full of bread (stale sandwiches to break up with your hands).
For Tunisians it is a kind of daily ritual, which is cheap and satisfying especially in winter.

  • Recommended to: snack, quick meal away from home (street food)
  • Average cost: € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: chickpeas, bread

6 - Ojja

It's a recipe made from scrambled eggs which are cooked for a long time in the ubiquitous harissa. Chunks of merguez, spicy lamb sausage (for a change!) and everything is then garnished with shrimps.

Therefore a hearty and caloric dish. It is strange to think that, originally, ojja was the favorite national dish for breakfast. Today it is served as a single dish during one of the main meals of the day, lunch or dinner.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 7,00
  • Main ingredients: eggs, shrimp, merguez sausage

7 - Berzguen

It is a very special dish. It is in fact a sweet-salty couscous prepared with milk and accompanied by lamb flavored with mountain rosemary, dried fruit and dates.

The dish is generally brought to the table on holidays.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: couscous, lamb, milk, dried fruit

8 - Kabkabou

Kabkabou or Kabkabu is a fish and tomato stew highly appreciated as it is relatively healthy and easy to prepare.
The fish is cooked in a sauce, and then capers, green olives, black olives and lemons are added.

Many species of fish are used, such as grouper, tuna and mackerel. The ingredients for the sauce are: onion, oil, tomato sauce, garlic, harissa, salt, pepper, cumin and saffron.

Perfect to accompany cous cous or to be consumed with typical bread.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 16,00
  • Main ingredients: fish, tomato, olives, capers

9 - Tajine malsouka

It is another typical recipe of Tunisian cuisine which, despite its name, has nothing to do with the Moroccan tajine of the same name.

It is a simple and very quick dish to prepare: a kind of savory pie whose base is the same as that of the brick, stuffed with chicken, eggs and cheese.

This is the original version but, obviously, the filling can vary according to the tastes of the diners or simply what is available.
Tajine malsouka can never be missing on the table during a wedding celebration!

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 10,00
  • Main ingredients: chicken, eggs, cheese

10 - Baklava

It is a sweet originally from Turkey but also very popular in North Africa and the Middle East. It is about biscuits mixed with date sugar, dried fruit and honey syrup.

There are several variants such as, for example, the one with walnuts and pistachios.

In the Medina of Tunis, the cake stands overflow with baklava and similar treats dripping with honey.

  • Recommended to: dessert
  • Average cost: € 1,00
  • Main ingredients: honey, dried fruit

Where to eat: best restaurants, typical bars and street food

From exclusive "European" restaurants, to street vendors, Tunis is able to satisfy everyone, both in terms of taste and budget.

In local trattorias you can taste typical dishesThe places also frequented by Tunisians themselves are usually clean and qualitatively good. For a quick lunch or hunger breaker, you can buy a typical snack from one of the many street vendors which are not only found in markets but also on the street with fixed or movable canopies.

For the most demanding palates there are also restaurants that follow more Western standards specialized in meat or fish. Obviously, in these cases, the bill is quite high and you do not immerse yourself at all in the typical atmosphere of the place.

Along Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the long avenue leading to the Marina with many Art Deco buildings, bar-restaurants follow one another with external dehors and waiters on the sidewalk "tourist catchers" offering everything from cous cous to salad, from burger to lasagna. The prices are average but, from the vastness of the menu the poor quality is easily deducible.

1 - Chez Slah (Seafood restaurant)

  • Description: restaurant that serves excellent fresh fish, it is necessary to book because the place is not very big
  • specialty: catch of the day
  • Average price: from € 25,00 per person
  • Address: 14 Bis Rue Pierre de Coubertin (Get Directions)

2 - Chez Abid (Local Trattoria)

  • Description: simple but excellent place frequented by both locals and tourists
  • specialty: fish soup and fish couscous
  • Average price: from € 15,00 per person
  • Address: 4 Rue du Caire (Get Directions)

3 - Dar Hammouda Pacha (Elegant restaurant)

  • Description: located in a sumptuous th century palace in the heart of the Medina, it offers typical Tunisian dishes
  • specialty: tagine and lamb mously
  • Average price: from € 40,00 per person
  • Address: 56 Rue Sidi Ben Arous (Get Directions)

4 - Panorama Kedidi (Café and snack bar)

  • Description: outdoor terrace for a quick meal (also to take away)
  • specialty: sandwiches, pizza and desserts
  • Average price: from € 7,00 per person
  • Address: 41 Ave Habib Bourguiba (Get Directions)

5 - M 'Rabet (Coffee)

  • Description: environment with typical furnishings and panoramic terrace overlooking the Medina. Ideal for traditional breakfast and dinners
  • specialty: couscous with lamb
  • Average price: from € 20,00 per person
  • Address: Souk Trok (Get Directions)

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